The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change held a hearing today to discuss the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers. Since early 2018, EPA has granted 85 RFS exemptions to refineries, totaling 4.04 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. Refinery exemptions under the Trump Administration have totaled nearly six times more gallons than those under the previous Administration.
The hearing also included discussion on the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019 (H.R. 3006), legislation supported by NCGA that would set a deadline for refineries to apply for RFS waivers and bring much-needed transparency to the waiver process.
The Subcommittee heard testimony from several witnesses, including Iowa farmer, NCGA Ethanol Action Team member, and Siouxland Energy Cooperative President Kelly Nieuwenhuis.
“I’m taking time away from harvest because today’s topic is critically important,” Nieuwenhuis told the Subcommittee. “Plain and simple: EPA’s abuse of small refinery exemptions under the RFS is crippling rural America.”
Today’s hearing comes on the heels of EPA’s supplemental proposal to the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking. EPA’s proposal to redistribute any future waived gallons is half of what the President committed to in his deal with farmers and fails to provide the assurance needed that EPA’s practices for granting waivers will change going forward.
EPA is holding a public hearing tomorrow, October 30, to seek input on their proposal. NCGA and other agriculture and ethanol industry leaders will be in attendance to tell the EPA to follow through on the President’s commitment to farmers and the RFS.